Traditionally, a will or trust is used to determine how physical assets such as real estate, bank accounts, or family heirlooms will be passed to your heirs. However, as more of our daily activities move online, you may also have significant digital assets that should be accounted for.
Types of Digital Assets
The term digital assets refers to any type of asset that exists online. Some digital assets have a direct financial value, while others are primarily personal in nature.
Here are some examples of digital assets that may need to be included in your estate plan:
- Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investments
- Income-generating blogs or websites
- Affiliate marketing accounts
- Photos, videos, or written works producing income
- Digital copyrights or trademarks
- Social media accounts
- Amazon Prime, Google Play, or Apple Music accounts with digital purchases of movies, television programs, and books
- Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo online game accounts and purchases
- Gmail accounts with storage of family photos and personal information
- Prepaid subscriptions to services such as Office365 or Netflix
How to Include Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan
The goal of estate planning for digital assets is to make it easy for your heirs to assume control of your digital assets after you have passed away. Planning eliminates the need to track down passwords and usernames while providing legal standing for beneficiaries to assume control of the assets. In the United States, accessing digital data without permission is considered a federal crime due to ongoing concerns about identity theft. Additional state laws may also apply to assuming control of digital assets.
Each type of digital asset will require a separate planning strategy, but cryptocurrency investments are generally the most challenging. While cryptocurrency is highly secure, the security is easily jeopardized if the private key or seed phrase is carelessly recorded. Trusts and other planning devices also have a hard time owning this type of digital asset.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is the best way to safeguard digital assets. At MEG International Counsel, we can assist in inventorying your digital assets, evaluate terms of service agreements, and develop a plan that will protect your privacy while allowing your beneficiaries to assume control of the assets after your passing.
We Offer Complete International Estate Planning Services
If you are ready to protect your assets, control the distribution of your assets after death, and determine the direction of your business or family after you are gone, it's time to contact an international estate planning attorney. Call us at (800) 694-6604 or contact us online today. Do not put off this important decision for later. Our firm will provide you with trustworthy and reliable representation so you can get the peace of mind of having made the right decisions.